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Participants Grade the Gay Games

(This story was published in 2006).

Everyone's experience of the Gay Games is different, depending on what city you come from, what sport(s) you play, your evening social activities, etc.... Here's how some participants graded the Gay Games:

SCOTT SHOWALTER, San Francisco, triathlon, cycling, and 1/2 marathon

Grade: C-

First Gay Games

"Props to Chicago for PR, sponsorships, and volunteers. Opening ceremonies roster was impressive, but event was excruciatingly long and focus should have been to celebrate sport. Social events lacking. But ultimately GG is about athletic events, and organization was poor. From changing start times and venues, to referees who didn't know or care about rules, to shuttles that never showed, to the loss of athletes' results, to running out of water on race courses, logistics were uniformly troublesome and often nightmarish. Still, a good time with old and new friends."

Ian Ford, Los Angeles, Indoor Volleyball

Grade: C+

First Gay Games

"Pluses: Chicago Transit passes, free massages all week long at volleyball venue, people of Chicago were very friendly. Minuses: Medal ceremonies were a bust, scheduling and long distances between venues made it difficult to watch other sports, opening and closing ceremonies were totally disorganized and too long."

Matthew Feitshans, Los Angeles, Flag Football and Volleyball
Grade: B-
First Gay Games
"While there were no calamitous events, the organizers failed to create a "hub" of activity where medals were presented and events transpired. It felt a little too spread out. Chicago was welcoming though.

BRANDON DEL CAMPO, Boulder, Colo., Triathlon and 5K

Grade: D+/C-

Second Gay Games

First off the Opening ceremonies were LAME. The triathlon was run so poorly. No bathrooms until 15 minutes before the start. No aid stations on the bike. Two aid stations on the run and then nothing but water at the end. Then the scoring was messed up and everyone running the show had no experience with triathlon. I won the 5K road race outright and at the end I turned out to be a 45 year old dude with a different name. More results messed up. I went to the track to run the other 5K and decided not to because that was being run worse than a preschool play.

MAC CHINSOMBOON, Boston, Rowing Crew and Sports Equality Day

Grade: B

First Gay Games

"Logistics for the rowing event in the small conservative suburb were a last-minute challenge, but many locals drove/walked by the event with thumbs up yelling "welcome!". SED was inspiring! The City of Chicago/ Police were great! The people/athletes were part of the amazing experience! (I could only attend 7/14-7/18)"

ANDE TIMPEIRO, Atlanta, Swimming and Open Water Swim
Grade: B
First Gay Games
"Bobbles in logistics & schedule notifications (water for triathletes, disorganized volunteers for my events), but overall a solid & memorable experience. Chicago really stepped."

MARC DAVINO, Boston, softball and flag football
Grade: C
Second Gay Games
"Flag football was poorly officiated and the games were never on time. Softball had problems too. Loved Chicago and Closing Ceremonies!"

JEREMIAH PHIPPS, Los Angeles, flag football
Grade: C-
First Gay Games
"I'm just looking at football, track and basketball. The venues were whack, the information wasn't there. It took a brain trust to figure out what was going on at times. I've been to other events that were just as big and were more well-organized."

GREG ELWOOD, West Hollywood, basketball
Grade: B-
Third Gay Games
"Most of the sports seemed to be well run and officiated (better than Sydney or Amsterdamn, basketball especially) and the city seemed very welcoming which was inspiring on some levels. On the other hand, as one of the few who stuck through the entire opening ceremony, it can only be described as a complete train wreck of epic proportions (the streaker, fireworks and Margaret Cho aside)."

MIKE HORTON, Atlanta, tennis and basketball
Grade: B
Third Gay Games
"Logistically there were a few nightmares, but the venue couldn't have been more welcoming than the City of Chicago."

BRIAN FELL, Ft. Lauderdale, track & field
Grade: B
Second Gay Games
"I don't want to be too harsh on the Gay Games. When I was there, someone reminded me that it was moved last-minute from Montreal. They were close on many levels, but they missed it. It was almost a good opening ceremonies, but they just missed the details that would have made it great."

DEREK REYES, New York City, flag football
Grade: B
First Gay Games
"I didn't think they accessed all of the city's resources the way they could have."